The TR Podcast 103: Down and dirty with the 7970

The Tech Report Podcast Date: January 8, 2012

Time: 1:37:08

Hosted by Jordan Drake

Co-Hosts: Scott Wasson, Geoff Gasior, Cyril Kowaliski, and special guest David Kanter

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Show notes

We ring in a new year of tech reporting this week with listener mail, a monster review, and special guest. After answering questions from listeners Mike and Daniel, Scott and guest co-host David Kanter of Real World Technologies get down and dirty with AMD’s new Radeon HD 7970 GPU—a monster of a card that prompts some intense discussion and dissection.

Then, we take a look at the games we can’t wait for in 2012, including Mass Effect 3, Far Cry 3, and a slew of other exciting titles. Finally, Geoff and Cyril discuss Geoff’s review of Asus’ Eee Pad Transformer Prime tablet.

Send in listener mail, and we’ll answer on the podcast. – jdrake@techreport.com

Follow us on Twitter – ScottJordanGeoffCyrilThe Tech Report

Listener mail/tweets:

Antivirus? (0:01:45) – from Mike:

“Hey guys,
I’m the “computer guy” among the people I know so I get asked to repair computers and remove viruses quite often. I typically use SuperAntiSpyware (SAS) and MalwareBytes along with AVG to clean out an infected system. SAS has a special download where I can run a single .COM file and it is entirely self contained. The last virus I tried to remove eluded SAS but not MalwareBytes. MalwareBytes is the best in my experience but it requires a directory in My Documents to store the virus definitions. Is there a better, portable antivirus program like SAS that I can run off of a flash drive? And what do you typically use to clean out an infected system?

P.S. Jack Stack BBQ is the best in the KC area….just so you know”

SSD for my MBP?(0:11:20) – from Daniel:

“Hey guys, First, I want to let you know I have listened to The Tech Report for the past several years. It has always been a treat to hear every episode because the group manages to explain very complicated topics in a manner that is discernible to affluent geeks.

Second, my question. I have an aging Late 2006 Macbook Pro that has never given me a problem. It’s another testiment to the Mac. I still have the same harddrive that originally came with the Mac. A 120 GB. I know I want a new Macbook Pro but if this laptop is still humming I need to purchase a new drive. I have multiple ways I backup…no worries there. I would appreciate knowing what is the best SSD I can install in my old Macbook Pro to give it an extra boost while knowing it will be used when a new Macbook Pro is needed. My SATA link speed indicates 1.5 Gigabit. Old..I know. If I get a SATA drive with 3 Gigabit speed, will it work with my older Macbook Pro? What brand, price, and other indicators should I look for in a new SSD drive? 120 GB seems the most affordable bang for my buck. Agree? BTW. I am fully capable of installing the SSD in the 2006 Macbook Pro. It’s a pain but I got it. (Geoff suggests that Daniel check out the SSDs from this site)

Thank you so much for the response and the show!!”

Tech discussion:

    AMD’s Radeon HD 7970 graphics processor – (0:17:16) – Read more

    2012 to bring a bounty of new PC games – (1:01:02) – Read more

    Asus’ Eee Pad Transformer Prime tablet – (1:08:21) – Read more

That’s all, folks! We’ll see you on the next episode.

Comments closed
    • safghtjrtj
    • 8 years ago
    • sweatshopking
    • 8 years ago

    [url<]http://news.softpedia.com/news/CeBIT-2009-AMD-Announces-World-039-s-First-40nm-GPU-105810.shtml[/url<]

    • clone
    • 8 years ago

    1996 I used to format a lot because I didn’t know any better, a friend made fun of that and said “formatting doesn’t fix a system”, I took that and ran with it taking the time to learn and not repeat mistakes, I got pretty decent by 1999 and very busy by then as well fixing other ppl’s mistakes earning some solid coin off it.

    I knew all along but by 2000 it was no longer fun to troubleshoot and fix when a simple format would yield the same result… fast forward to today and I don’t remember when I lost interest in fixing computers but for several years now maybe even a decade when I do take the time to fix a software issue of any kind when it’s over I compare how long it took to how quick I could have done a format….. and when it’s a virus or malware the feeling of accomplishment is empty because while this one was beaten a new one is already out their that’ll take just as long if not longer to kill.

    just nuke it and be done with it.

      • lilbuddhaman
      • 8 years ago

      Virus? Malware? It’s been a decade since one has done anything more than sit idly on a bad torrent, quarantined by AV.

        • Arclight
        • 8 years ago

        They still spread through USB pens or w/e you call them. Some download stuff that they shouldn’t (cough pirated content cough) without having any AV installed. Infections still happen in the “wild”.

    • glynor
    • 8 years ago

    I’m only about 1/3rd of the way in so far, but this is a great episode already (David Kanter is always a welcome guest).

    I did want to comment quickly about a couple of the things at the beginning of the episode, though.

    1. Regarding the SSD for the Macbook Pro. You would almost certainly be fine using any generic off-the-shelf SSD in that model. More recent (Sandy Bridge) Macs can be fiddly about hard drives because they did some fancy stuff with heat sensors. However, OWC is a good source if you want to be “safe”.

    Personally, I’ve swapped a BUNCH of hard drives into and out of my old 2006 Macbook Pro (similar vintage, I suspect). I never installed an SSD, but I put in a ton of generic Western Digital and Samsung drives. Our IT department here has done quite a few SSD upgrades on Macbooks too with no problems (though they get them from OWC, I believe).

    One other thing I’d mention for that questioner, if you’re reading this… OWC sells an AWESOME little piece of kit called the Data Doubler. It is basically a bracket that you put in-place of your optical drive in the Macbook to give you a spot for an additional 2.5″ hard drive. They even sell these bundled with their SSDs and a nice external USB case for the removed optical drive for an easy all-in-one purchase.

    We have a BUNCH of these here at the office and they work great. So, with one of those, you could get an SSD boot drive and then keep your old magnetic disk too for additional media storage (or a boot camp partition). They sell them for a variety of different Macbook models. You’d have to look on their site to see if they sell one for your particular 2006 model Macbook.

    2. Regarding the virus removal… I just wanted to say that I totally agree with everything Scott said. Modern virus infections are just not removable in too many cases anymore. It is really about trust, and once infected, I can no longer trust that any tool can remove them fully without a nuke/pave.

    3. Now, every time I read the first page of one of Scott’s epic reviews, I’m going to hear ODB singing “let me clear my throat!”

      • glynor
      • 8 years ago

      I just looked… The Data Doubler is only available for “Unibody” Macbooks and newer machines, so you can’t do that. Too bad, it is sweet.

      Still an awesome tip for other users though.

    • dragosmp
    • 8 years ago

    I have an idea for Daniel’s SSD & MBP question. It’s maybe slightly offtopic as it’s not an SSD I’m thinking of but it’s as close as it gets: Seagate’s Hybrid Momentus XT 750GB: [url<]https://techreport.com/articles.x/22057[/url<] As seen in the review the disk uses its 8GB SLC to accelerate almost every workload to near-SSD speed while boasting decent capacity. SSD's cache is managed by the drive, so it is immune to issues such as the lack of TRIM and isn't heavily botlenecked by the SATA 1.5. The first gen 250&500GB Momentus XT were quite popular in the Mac crowd for the reasons above, since the 750GB is faster and better in every way it should be a home run. /2 cents and returning to the podcast and the 7970 discussion

    • flip-mode
    • 8 years ago

    David Kanter!?! Fine, I’ll listen to this one!

      • UberGerbil
      • 8 years ago

      Yeah, that’s what did it for me.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 8 years ago

    Sweet. Tuesday’s commute to work is gonna rock.

    • tbone8ty
    • 8 years ago

    Ron Paul 2012!

      • ssidbroadcast
      • 8 years ago

      I haven’t listened to the podcast yet, so I’m curious as to how this comment is relevant, but that said: [spoiler<]yeah man, Ron Paul gets my vote[/spoiler<].

      • Dashak
      • 8 years ago

      Keep the R&P in their proper places.

        • l33t-g4m3r
        • 8 years ago

        That’s right! Keep it in your little caged off free speech zone. I don’t know what you were thinking, randomly speaking your mind in a public forum. You can’t do that here. Not in the USSA. War is Peace. Iran. Freedom is Slavery. Patriot Act. SOPA. NDAA. We must divide and conquer so that the ants don’t rise up against their masters. They shouldn’t be allowed to know that they are free range tax slaves for the government, let alone conspire with one another to free themselves from their shackles.

          • glynor
          • 8 years ago

          Pet Peeve Alert: This is not a free-speech public forum. It is a website owned and operated by a [i<]private corporation[/i<]. Free Speech claims only apply to government censorship. Scott can (and should) moderate this forum. He has freedom to speak however he wants on this site, but we do not. PS. I realize that this was probably a troll. It just annoys me when I see this common refrain on private forums.

            • l33t-g4m3r
            • 8 years ago

            Actually, it doesn’t matter if it’s a private corporation. Corporations don’t have special exemptions to censor speech, or break laws. Neither does the government. The President himself cannot censor a citizen. The civil rights laws passed to stop segregation prove that businesses do not have the right to infringe on the liberties of their customers. It’s not like we are living in China here.

            • glynor
            • 8 years ago

            I don’t know why I’m feeding the troll, but… [i<]You[/i<] clearly don't understand what freedom of speech entails. I can certainly control your speech on my private property. I cannot have you [i<]arrested[/i<] for saying something I don't like, but I can throw you out of my house. If you write on my walls, I can erase it or paint over it. If you write a book, and give it to me, I can destroy it. As a property owner, I can even prohibit trespass by political speakers and petition-gatherers, if I so choose. Even the government can do this, that's how they deal with graffiti. The amendment to the constitution says "Congress shall make no law", and that's what it means. It says nothing about individuals or corporations. It is about the government abridging the freedom of speech (and religion and the press) via legal means. Generally (with only a few narrow exceptions) it does not apply to "Private Action". From Wikipedia: [quote<]The U.S. Supreme Court has never interpreted the First Amendment as having the same power to alter private property rights, or provide any other protection against purely private action. When considering private authority figures (such as parents or an employer), the First Amendment provides no protection. A private authority figure may reserve the right to censor their subordinate's speech, or discriminate on the basis of speech, without any legal consequences. "All may dismiss their employees at will,...for good cause, for no cause, or even for a cause morally wrong, without thereby being guilty of a legal wrong."[76] With specific regard to employee free speech, a few court cases illuminate the limits of the First Amendment vis-a-vis private employment.[/quote<] Private companies may censor their users on a private web forum, employees and visitors on their grounds, and they may discriminate against you for prior speech. They cannot [i<]prevent[/i<] you from speaking on-your-own via arrest or injunction (so long as said speech is legal and not libelous), but they do NOT have to allow you to do it on "their dime". There are also a few exceptions to the blanket legal protection on speech. If said speech is "Commercial Speech", it is not afforded full protection under the first amendment. Likewise, obscene or inflammatory speech, libel or slander, speech on school grounds are all not afforded full protection by the first amendment. You may think it should not be that way, I suppose, but that is the law.

            • l33t-g4m3r
            • 8 years ago

            You’re conveniently ignoring the civil rights laws, which freed blacks from segregation. Public businesses can’t discriminate or violate rights, they have to abide by the same rules as the rest of us. Property rights is a slightly different matter, as a public business is not exactly “private” property. You can’t infringe on rights with a public business. You can throw people off your property at home, but it’s not the same with a public business. Private clubs have more leeway to do these things, but they aren’t open to the general public, and the threat of lawsuits generally keep clubs from being unreasonable. The only way a public business can really do anything, is if someone is breaking the law. Even at that, most stores like walmart avoid direct confrontation and leave enforcement up to the police, which is legally a smart move.

            • glynor
            • 8 years ago

            Really? I don’t think I’m the one who doesn’t get it.

            The Civil Rights Act of 1964 establishes certain distinct “Protected Classes”. Establishments which are “places of public accommodation” (defined explicitly in the law) are prevented from discriminating against patrons [i<]based on their being a member of a protected class[/i<]. [quote<]TITLE II--INJUNCTIVE RELIEF AGAINST DISCRIMINATION IN PLACES OF PUBLIC ACCOMMODATION SEC. 201. (a) All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, and privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.[/quote<] The "protected class" definition was later expanded to include gender, familial status, disability status, veteran status, and (in some states) sexual orientation. However, it certainly does [i<]not[/i<] include speech. The spirit of the law is that public accommodations should be open to people irrespective of who they [i<]are[/i<] (things they cannot change). It does nothing to regulate discrimination based on things patrons do, and it does not prevent private discrimination based on characteristics other than the specific protected classes. In many states (not mine, finally) it is absolutely legal for an inn or restaurant to refuse to serve you because of your sexual orientation, for example. They cannot discriminate based on those limited protected class items. Everything else is fair game, and the law is even a bit fiddly on what authority the US Government has to regulate private business in this way (the Supreme Court ruled that Congress was authorized to do so under the Interstate Commerce clause of the 14th amendment, but whether they would be able to go further would have to be tested in the courts). In any case, a bartender can throw you out if you are being loud and belligerent. Or even if you just say something that pisses them off. Or, even, if you are just ugly, or because you have green eyes, or red hair. And Walmart will throw you out if you show up with a "Down with Walmart" sign and try to hang out in the store telling all of the other patrons how terrible Walmart is. If you don't believe me, go try it. I'll wait. They can't throw you out because you are an Indonesian, Hindu, female veteran, and they can't make you stop protesting if you do it across the street on public property, but they can certainly throw you out if you won't shut up.

      • SHOES
      • 8 years ago

      I giggled… nvm the trolls.

      • Arclight
      • 8 years ago

      Umm aren’t political and religion discussions forbidden on this site (like many others)?
      It’s not that it’s forbidden cause the owners/moderators of the site are comunists but because it has no place on a tech site.

      How would you feel if i went on a political blog/forum w/e and started talking about tech stuff with no relation to the subjects commonly discussed? I bet i’d get banned quite quickly for being off topic. Plus the members of the TR community come from many countries that quite frankly don’t give a damn bout USA’s politics or elections.

      @topic
      How is that special edition video podcast idea/request evolving? Or was it “nuked” from the beginning?

        • tfp
        • 8 years ago

        Is planet forbidden!

          • Arclight
          • 8 years ago

          More like planet stay on topic, or at least try to be cute or funny about it.

        • l33t-g4m3r
        • 8 years ago

        [quote<]How would you feel if i went on a political blog/forum w/e and started talking about tech stuff with no relation to the subjects commonly discussed? I bet i'd get banned quite quickly for being off topic.[/quote<] LOL. You apparently either know nothing about American politics, or don't respect our rights. Free Speech means Free Speech. There are no ifs, ands, or buts. It is a Constitutional RIGHT to say what you want to say. Websites such as theblaze and drudgereport instantly disprove your statement, being they talk about anything and everything. The only thing "off-topic" is making dangerous threats. Not only that, but politics is completely relevant on tech sites, especially when the gov start passing bills like SOPA, or trying to ban video games. People like you want the rest of us to ignore corrupt legislation like that, and it's not gonna happen. We know, and we speak out about it. Also, If you truly didn't care, then why would you post a statement against it? That in itself proves you do care, but it's on the anti-speech side of the argument. You want to shape discussion so that things continue to slide downhill without people knowing about it, which is wrong.

          • Arclight
          • 8 years ago

          Oh USA, land of the free, land of the brave…
          Spare me the speech, i don’t visit tech sites so i can hear about USA’s politics this is not a matter of freedom of speech, rather lack of common sense.

          A post like “Ron Paul 2012!” for a TR podcast? That’s SPAM right there.

            • l33t-g4m3r
            • 8 years ago

            Yes, you don’t care so much that you post yet another anti-American negative comment against free speech. Your true colors are showing. I may agree with you that spam is spam, but free speech is still free speech, and that’s what I’m sticking up for.

            • Arclight
            • 8 years ago

            Again i’ll say “It’s not that it’s forbidden cause the owners/moderators of the site are comunists but because it has no place on a tech site. ” and spam is spam. You gotta stick to the effing issue.

            [quote<]Yes, you don't care so much that you post yet another anti-American negative comment against free speech.[/quote<] Oh i don't care about USA's politics or politicians, but i do get annoyed by spam, so much so that i want to remedy it on a site that i like. Also FYI freedom of speech it's not your American right, it is a universal human right.

            • l33t-g4m3r
            • 8 years ago

            [quote<]Also FYI freedom of speech it's not your American right, it is a universal human right.[/quote<] Correct, but the US is one of the few countries that legally recognizes that. And to take your point further, free speech comes from free thought, and free thought is something you're born with. Cracking down on speech inevitably leads to thought police, which leads to North Korea. We don't want that now do we? PS. I agree with the spam, but a Ron Paul 2012 comment is harmless and entertaining. Also, TR isn't run by communists (with 2 m's.), since they are a business. Communists don't run businesses, or at least not very well. They'd rather be living in a commune and eating organic food bought with food stamps.

            • Arclight
            • 8 years ago

            [quote<]Correct, but the US is one of the few countries that legally recognizes that. And to take your point further, free speech comes from free thought, and free thought is something you're born with. Cracking down on speech inevitably leads to thought police, which leads to North Korea. We don't want that now do we?[/quote<] Agreed and no, we don't. But good luck with the Patriot Act despite having your freedoms written in the constitution. [quote<]PS. I agree with the spam, but a Ron Paul 2012 comment is harmless and entertaining. [/quote<] Entertaining? Not to me. [quote<]Also, TR isn't run by communists (with 2 m's.), since they are a business. Communists don't run businesses, or at least not very well. They'd rather be living in a commune and eating organic food bought with food stamps.[/quote<] I never said it is, i said it isn't and yet you tell me something i already stated as if i was saying the contrary. Weird.

      • can-a-tuna
      • 8 years ago

      Paavo Väyrynen 2012!

      • BoBzeBuilder
      • 8 years ago

      Santorum 2012!

        • l33t-g4m3r
        • 8 years ago

        Vermin Supreme 2012! (Yes, he’s a real candidate, funny to boot.)
        [url<]http://www.theblaze.com/stories/meet-vermin-supreme-the-prez-candidate-that-just-heckled-ron-paul/[/url<]

      • jdrake
      • 8 years ago

      …I’ve opened a door here that I regret.

    • odizzido
    • 8 years ago

    I agree that ME2 wasn’t as good as the first. I actually didn’t even like the second, which is funny because the first is one of my favourite games.

    That makes ME3 really conflicting for me. ME2 is ass, ME1 is amazing…..who knows what ME3 will be like.

    • Silus
    • 8 years ago

    Nice! Do keep adding bloopers Jordan! 🙂

      • UberGerbil
      • 8 years ago

      Just maybe not political bloopers (cf the annoying R&P subthread it spawned here)

    • jstern
    • 8 years ago

    My cousin’s kids keep downloading free games, the thing was running soooo slow, so since I had a Windows installation on my flash drive, I just reinstalled Windows and then drag all the pictures and files from Windows.old. Which reminds me, I have to go an activate it with the proper Windows 7 key.

    I also have to reinstall Windows 7 on my PC in the same fashion every 4 months (re-arm) because my Vaio installation disk sucks bad. (Won’t install on my SSD). But for some reason I don’t mind it.

    • Dygear
    • 8 years ago

    Oh, this was a nice little surprise. Was not expecting a new podcast until CES was over. Awesome, thanks guys!

      • Dygear
      • 8 years ago

      Regarding the 7970’s custom hardware for encoding of H.264, you forgot to mention within the podcast that you can encode from the frame buffer. Meaning that applications like FRAPS become much, much faster and should also give a much better level of image quality with smaller file-size. That’s a pretty massive feature that no one is really talking about. I read it in your article, I find it odd that you did not mention that also in the podcast.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 8 years ago

        That’s probably good news for the professional game casters, too. Interesting.

          • Firestarter
          • 8 years ago

          – make a FRAPS-like tool easily available (or sponsor FRAPS)
          – get free advertising from game casters

        • Bauxite
        • 8 years ago

        This, I ordered a 7970 anyways but dying to know if/what/when something will come out of the new feature.

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